It is always best to visit a project site that you are estimating, especially if the project is a renovation of an existing facility. Use your time at the site visit wisely. It is your responsibility as an estimator to gather the necessary information to bid the project responsibly. The site visit is one of the best and easiest ways to mitigate risks. Some site conditions can only be known and understood by visiting the project location.
Here are some things that should be done before leaving for your site visit.
- Review the specifications for the site visit requirements, sometimes a site visit is mandatory.
- Some correctional facilities require a 24-hour pre-registration for attendees. Read the specification carefully. Be sure to leave behind any personal possessions that would be prohibited in a correctional facility.
- Be sure to have printed directions to the location or a GPS device.
- Even if you are bidding a new building and you are visiting an empty field, it is good to attend so you will know who your competition might be and to meet potential subcontractors.
- Be sure to have your business cards.
- Print the electrical drawings on 11” x 17” paper. This will make handling the drawings much easier than full size documents.
- Highlight items for review on your drawings.
- Prepare a list of questions to ask.
- Be sure you have a camera or cell phone fully charged.
- Consider whether you might need to invite your subcontractors to attend to assess his work. If so, be sure to provide them with all necessary documents prior to the meeting. This is vitally important if the subcontract work is a major portion of the total project costs. Sometimes, the civil work can be more than 50% of the project total costs.
My next training tip will give helpful hints as to what to do during the site visit.
Remember, estimating is expensive, poor estimating is costly, but quality estimating is profitable.